Posts Tagged ‘bogie’

Camp Mountain Disaster – Labour Day 1947

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

A special working time table had been prepared and Samford was to be opened as a Staff Station for safe working for the day. The ordinary Monday rnixed trains to and from Dayboro’ had been cancelled due to the public holiday, but the usual daily Rail Motor service from Dayboro’ at 7.50am (E82) was to run with a later return from Brisbane, leaving Roma Street at 6.32pm and arriving Dayboro’ at 8.26pm (E81).

A special train (E17) reserved for St. Alban’s Presbyterian Sunday School from Wilston (then express to Enoggera) and for the Enoggera Methodist Circuit, all stations (except Ferny Grove and Camp Mountain) from Enoggera to Samford, loaded passengers at Wilston from 8.17am to 8.20am, detrained and entrained passengers at Enoggera from 8.28am to 8.40am, crossed a suburban passenger train at Mitchelton 8.47am to 8.52pm (probably taking water there), crossed the Dayboro’ Rail Motor at Ferny Grove at 9.05am and arrived at Samford at 9.22am (4 minutes late). The passengers of this train alighted for a picnic at Samford. This train was timetabled to return to Mayne (empty cars) as train E18 departing Samford at 10.08am (tender leading as there was no turning facility at Samford – the locomotive being turned at Mitchelton). The consist of this train was PB15 class locomotive 355 and suburban passenger cars 891, 1178, 907, 887 and 889 (Driver B.J. Winn, Fireman W. Clark and Guard C.F. Herrenberg).

The next special train (E91) – Passengers to Closeburn and empty cars to Dayboro’, returning as train E90 – empty cars from Dayboro’ departing at 4.3 0 pm and with passengers from Closeburn at 5. 1 Opm was one chartered by the Recreation and Social Club of the Commonwealth Officers employed by the Department of Trade and Customs at Brisbane, with C17 class engine 824 using tender from locomotive 712, water gin UW9014 and suburban passenger cars 740, 739, 742, 741, 743 and 744. F!iis Itrain left Roma Street at 8.50am, Central 8.59am with an estimated 215 passengers, crossed a suburban passenger train at Newmarket at 9.14am, the Dayboro Motor at Enoggera at 9.25am and left Mitcheltort at 9.30am (8 minutes late). Having passed through Ferny Grove, where the train slowed to pick up a train ticket for authority to travel to Samford, this train climbed the Samford Range quite slowly – estimated speed at the top of the range between 6 and 12 miles per hour.

The Driver (H.C. Hind) had recently transferred to Mayne Depot and as he had not previously worked over the road beyond Ferny Grove (to which place he had been only twice before on suburban passenger trains) was being tutored by his Fireman (A.C. Knight) who had passed the driver’s examination and had previously been a Cleaner at Dayboro’ in the twenties. Whether an attempt was being made to make up time (as there was another special train following by about 15 minutes) was never to be known as the engine tender derailed on a 6 chain radius curve to the left about 71 chains from the head of the range. The result was catastrophic and caused the total derailment of the engine (which tipped on its right hand side), the water gin and the first two cars with one of these, the front van (740) being destroyed. The second car (739) had its two leading compartments destroyed while the next car (742) had its leading bogie derailed but damage to it and the following three cars was relatively minor. From an ordinary length of 238 feet 5 inches for the engine, tender, water gin and first 3 suburban cars (740, 739 and 742), these vehicles were compressed into a length of 134 feet by the accident. When the train stopped , the Guard (G.E. Evans) who had been sitting at the left hand look out window of the rear van, was thrown into the corner of his compartment and, after picking hirriself up and alighting, hurried to the top of the cutting on the left hand side, returned and screwed on the handbrake. He looked at his watch and noted the time as 9.50am. Allowing 2 minutes for the time since being thrown into the corner, he set the time of the accident at 9.48am, this time being accepted by the subsequent Court of Enquiry as being the time of the accident. He then took the ambulance box from the van and handed it to someone at the front of the train, followed by the breakdown kit. He then hurried about 500 yards back along the track with red flags and detonators (these are placed on the track to warn of danger) to stop the following train (E89). The Guard subsequently stayed at the scene of the accident all day and eventually left the scene by car at 5.30pm and signed off duty at Mayne at 6.15pm.

This next train (E89) which was timetabled through to Dayboro consisted of Cl7 locomotive 752, Water gin FGW10033 and suburban cars 956, 1025, 794, 799 and 1022 (Driver A. Laing, Fireman C. Birmingham and Guard C. Menzies). It left Roma Street at 9am, Central 9.05am and stopped all stations as a regular train to pick up passengers for the various picnic spots through to Dayboro’. This train on its return from Dayboro (E88) was to collect passengers all stations to Femy Grove and also attach all perishable loading and livestock (the goods wagons usually collected by the regular Monday Dayboro’ mixed train which had been cancelled for the Public Holiday). E89 arrived at the accident scene at 10.09am and the ambulance boxes and breakdown kits from the two vans were taken to the front of E91 where rescue work was in progress. As the last three cars of E91 were still on the road, they were coupled to the front of Engine 752 to remove them from the site to clear the way for the breakdown train. This engine was unable to lift its own train and these last three cars from E91 and they had to be detached approximately 100 yards up the track at 11.32am, whereupon 752 pushed its own train back to Femy Grove where its 5 cars were detached. Engine 752 and water gin then returned to lift cars 744, 743 and 741. On return to Femy Grove at 12.21 pm, engine 752 attached its 5 cars and detached the water gin and departed at 12.42pm for Mayne where it arrived at 1.25pm.

Meanwhile the breakdown train with locomotive PB15 class 486, wagons EC7164, C9117, SR13175, SGI 1693 and breakdown van 9709 (Driver G. Mumford, Fireman K. Humbler and Guard R.WY. Dean) had left Mayne at 11.00am and arrived at Femy Grove at 11.55am where it was attached to water gin FGW10033 (off E89) and departed at 12.25pm. It was at the site of the accident from 12.45pm until 5.30pm and returned to Mayne at 6.15pm.

At Samford, the first picnic train (E17) was stranded. Driver Winn and Fireman Clark were told to – -idbv, they eventually left Samford at 3.45pm and walked back to the derailment site enroule to Ferny Grove. They arrived at Mayne at 6.15pm. Guard Herrenberg, after remaining on duty at Samford, left there by bus to Enoggera (we assume with the passengers from the Samford picnic) where he caught E96 passenger train at 6.08pm arriving at Mayne at 6.22pm. This train was left at Samford and eventually returned to Mayne after the line was cleared, arriving there at 6.30pm Wednesday, 7th May, 1947.


At this stage we will look at a brief history of the branch and typical workings during 1947.

The first survey for a railway to Samford was undertaken in 1884. The route surveyed, branched from the Sandgate line at Victoria Park and followed the south bank of Kedron Brook crossing into Samford via a tunnel. This never eventuated, however, and the railway to Enoggera was opened on 5ih February, 1′,~99 following the route it takes today via Mayne. The permanent survey for the extension to Daybot-o’ was undertaken by C.S. Stringer in 1915 (some excellent survey marks still survive on trees and stumps between Ferny Grove and Dayboro’). The extension from Enoggera to Rifle Range (renamed Gaythorne from July, 1923) was opened on 16th February, 1916, being funded by the Commonwealth due to the war effort. Work commenced towards Mitchelton in 1917 with 2nd March, 1918 being the date of opening there. Samford was opened on 29th. June the same year with a special train conveying guests to a celebration dinner held at Samford. The extension to Sarnsonvale was opened 3rd March, 1919 followed by Kobble on 3rd November, 1919 and Dayboro on 27th September, 1920. The branch was built to main line standards of the day using 60 Ibs./yd. BHP rail. (Rails at the accident scene were marked B.H.P. Coy. Ltd. – V – 17. Q.R.) Further surveys were completed from Dayboro to Mount Pleasant and the Mount Mee area. These extensions never eventuated.

In 1947, traffic on the branch was quite light. The service consisted of three mixed trains a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), a railmotor service each day and an additional railmotor trip on Thursdays and Saturdays. Suburban services terminated mainly at Mitchelton with some going through to Femy Grove. The branch was very different to today’s line between Femy Grove and theCity. The line from Mayne Junction was double track to Newmarket (since 1920) and single beyond. The track was duplicated between Newmarket and Enoggera in 1952, and to through to Mitchelton in 1953. Trains were timetabled to cross each other at Newmarket, Enoggera, Mitchelton and Ferny Grove prior to duplication through to Mitchelton. Ferny Grove station consisted of the original timber building (built 1918 and now located at the Samford Museum) on a low level timber fronted platform. A single main line with a passing loop and siding faced the Samford Road

side of the platform. High level concrete faced island platforms with a new loop line were provided at Ferny Grove in 195 1, the original building being replaced with the existing structure in 1988. The first stop beyond Ferny Grove was a Railmotor stop (Railmotor stop 1) located at 10½ miles, Camp Mountain station was located at what is now the corner of Camp Mountain Road

and McLean Road South

. It was unstaffed and consisted of a low level platform and a spartan waiting shed. Samford had a timber station building larger in size than Ferny Grove, a timber edged single sided platform 200 ft. long, stock trucking yards, a goods shed and the Station Mistress’ residence.

Safeworking beyond Ferny Grove was by the staff and ticket system. Basically explained, a lockable box was situated at Ferny Grove with a similar box at Dayboro’. A “staff’ (a large, coloured timber and brass key 16” long marked with the track section) was kept inserted in the staff box and a book of tickets (a small book of “raffle ticket” style forms the same colour as the staff) was locked inside (The Ferny Grove – Dayboro’ staff was coloured red with a diamond shaped head, the book of tickets and staff box matching colour.). Once the staff was removed from the staff box, the box could not be opened to gain access to the tickets. If only one train was to occupy the section of track, the crew would remove the staff from the box and take it with them (The crew would perform this task if the station was unattended or if a station mistress was on duty, a station master would perform the work if he was on duty.). Following trains would have no authority to enter the section as they did not have a staff or a ticket. If two or more trains were to enter the section (as they did on 5th May, 1947.), the station master or crew would first unlock the staff box and write out a ticket for each train to travel through to the end of the section. The last train would not take a ticket, but the box would be locked with the staff and then the staff carried on board the train. No train could return through the section until the train carrying the staff arrived, the staff being used to unlock the box at the distant end to enable tickets to be written for the return journeys. On the day of the crash, Samford had been opened as a staff station for the labour day holiday and a Station Master or Night Officer stationed at both Ferny Grove and Samford (Ferny Grove and Samford usually had a Station Mistress in charge, the Station Masters were on duty for safe working due to the number of trains running). Opening Sarmford as a staff station allowed certain trains to work to and from Samford rather than travel right through to Dayboro’. A red

Diamond Head staff was used between Ferny Grove and Samford, and a yellow half diamond staff between Samford and Dayboro on the Labour Day holiday, 1947.

Speed limits on the Branch were 25 m.p.h. on straights and 20 m.p.h. on curves for trains, 30 m.p.h. for 50 horsepower railmotors and 3 5 m.p.h. for 100 horsepower railmotors.


Following the derailment of E91, passengers, railway staff and nearby residents of the district worked with great zeal to rescue injured passengers. The first call was received at Ambulance Headquarters at 10.08am and one Ambulance was sent immediately, 4 within 6 minutes and 18 ambulances with 26 men had been dispatched within 1 hour and 10 minutes. The subsequent Enquiry recognised the efforts of those involved and in particular the work done by Guard Evans in protecting his train and giving assistance at a time when he was suffering from severe nervous shock. The Queensland Ambulance Transport Brigade, Police and Doctors were also praised for their prompt dispatch to the scene of the disaster.

16 people lost their lives as a result of the derailment, 14 passengers and the fireman died on the day of the accident, the driver dying the next day in hospital. 38 people were injured. The newspapers of the day cover this quite graphically, readers can view these on microfilm at the John Oxley Library if interested.

Railway gangs began the cleanup of the wreckage under the control of Mr N.H. Kenny, Locomotive Engineer of the Queensland Railways. Car 742 was rerailed and towed to Mayne. Car 739 (minus its front 2 compartments) was righted and a temporary pivot bar and bogie fitted to enable removal from .the site. As its front bogie had been damaged in the accident, an undamaged bogie from the rear of car 740 was placed under 739 for the recovery. The locomotive was righted, rerailed and returned to Mayne. Wreckage of the first carriage, water gin and tender were eventually taken back on flat wagons. The line was finally cleared and track gangs had the line repaired in time for the evening Roma Street

to Dayboro’ rail motor on Wednesday, 7th May. It is interesting to note that only two lengths of rail needed to be replaced after the accident, one rail being severely kinked and the other found to be twisted. Other damaged rails were pressed, straightened and reused. 60 sleepers were also replaced.

A Court of Enquiry was held to formally investigate the cause of the accident. The Honourable Alan James Mansfield, Senior Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland conducted the Enquiry with the assistance of Professor R.W.H. Hawken, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Queensland University and Mr. D.W. Trewin, President of the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen (Queensland Branch) as Assessors. The Court made a formal investigation of the accident; and the causes thereof and the circumstances attending the same. The Court sat for a total of 14 days between 2 1 st May, 1947 and 9th June, 1947, with 50 witnesses being examined.

The Court examined the condition of the permanent way, the condition of the rollingstock and the management of the train.

On the morning of the 5th May, Ganger Mitchell (Number 3 Gang, Samford) rode twice over the section that was to be the scene of the accident later that day. He examined the road from 14 miles 78 chains (approximately half way between the Gibbons Road overbridge and the tunnel) through to 8 miles 20 chains (the Samford end of Femy Grove station) this being the length that number 3 gang maintained. Arriving at Femy Grove by tricycle just ahead of the Dayboro’ rail motor, he then returned towards Camp Mountain after the motor’s arrival and travelled to a point at 10 miles 20 chains (near the crest of the range) and waited for the first excursion train (E 17) to pass him. He then followed it to Samford. Number 3 Gang consisted of a Ganger (Ganger Mitchell had been ganger on this section since 15th February, 1940) and 3 men, although 2 extra men had assisted during the month prior to the accident with cleaning out of landslides in cuttings due to wet weather. Reports (if track maintenance were examined by the Court, also Walking and Motor Quadricycle Inspections since July, 1946 of Permanent Way Inspector A.W. Bailey. As the Ganger had twice passed the scene of the derailment prior to the arrival of E91 (once just prior to E9l arriving at the point of derailment), the Court was of the opinion that no foreign object or track defect had caused the disaster. Subsequent to the accident, a close inspection of trackwork back to the crest of the range showed no defect in the track and no foreign objects on the right of way. The previous train (E 17) had been checked with no components found to be missing from it. Queensland Railway Engineer D. P. Smith and Assistant Maintenance Engineer Nutt had arrived at the site at 11.25am and measured and recorded details of the track. They measured the gauge and cant and these were found to be within acceptable limits (Cant is the difference in height between the outer and inner rails on a curve. A certain amount of superelevation is provided – on a curve of 6 chain radius and a gauge of 3ft. 6 inches a superelevation of 3½ inches fulfils this condition for a speed of approximately 20 m.p.h.). A plan of the condition of the track immediately following the accident was also prepared and used as Court evidence. The track was inspected by Mr. Erie Adam, Chief Mechanical Engineer, of the Commonwealth Railways. In evidence he stated that the track was in a better condition than most of the track on the 3ft. 6 inch gauge Commonwealth Railways Central line.

A report by Locomotive Engineer Mr. N.H. Kenny and Mr. T. Bird of the Metal Section at Ipswich Workshops looked at the damage to each vehicle of the train. Railway Department records show that the cost of repairs to locomotive 824 was £524, Tender 712 – £168, Water Gin 9014 – £528, Coach 740 – £4,63 1, Coach 739 – £1,150, Coach 742 – £35, Coach – 741 £18, Coach 743 – £2 and Coach 744 – £6. Total £7.062. Coach 740 was the only vehicle written off. Its new cost in 1915 was £1,318. The only reclaimable equipment of this vehicle was the bogies at an estimated value of £300 each, the cost of a replacement car in 1947 was £5,231.

Locomotive 824 was built by Armstrong Whitworth, Scotswood, Newcastle on Tyne in 1927 (builders number 27727). Its last general overhaul had been at Ipswich Workshops in November, 1944. This involved a complete strip down and recondition. Between this overhaul and the Camp Mountain derailment the locomotive had run 84,851 miles. General overhaul was usually at 90,000 miles or 3 years. Partial overhauls and repairs had been carried out at Bundaberg, Maryborough, Gympie and Mayne since the general overhaul. For the previous 3 months, the Locomotive had worked in the Gympie and Maryborough districts including various workings on the Mary Valley, Kingaroy and Monto branches. It had worked several trains to Brisbane followed by one trip to Toowoomba (524 up goods) on 18th April returning 20th April (563 down goods). Two trips to Gympie and return followed. then a suburban train to Mitchelton (E13) on 28th April, 1947, followed by train 291 Brisbane to Maryborough completing this working on 29th April. Train 82 Maryborough to Gympie was then worked on 30th April. It returned to Brisbane from Gympie on a goods train (278 up) on I st May, failing at Strathpine due to a burst superheater element. It was then detached from its train and travelled light engine to Mayne. The burst element had been repaired at Mayne on 2nd May. The locomotive had not previously been involved in any major accident, although records show that it had been derailed in January, 1941 at Monkland.The tender attached to engine 824 was one previously attached to locomotive 712, a C17 engine similar to 824. 11 had been attached to engine 824 on 3 1 st January, 1947. The tender had undergone general overhaul at Ipswich with engine 712 in July, 1945. Other work had been performed on it at Willowburn (Toowoomba) and Gympie. Attention to the condition of the male and female castings of the tender bogies and the rubbing blocks was brought to the attention of the Court. The leading bogie female casting had been packed with three ‘/4 inch plates and there was appreciable wear on the castings caused mainly by the packing plates, which allowed a slog of about 1 inch, instead of a snug fit. The bogie centre had been dry and rusty and was not receiving oil. The packing caused the male bogie casting to be raised approximately Y4 inch, this causing the superstructure of the tender to have a greater range of sway on the rubbing blocks. Evidence showed that a kingpin and cotter pin had been in position in each tender bogie at the lime of the accident.

The water gin (UW9014)) had been thoroughly overhauled at Ipswich Workshops during October and November, 1945. It was in good condition at the time of the accident. No evidence was produced as to whether the water gin had been on the Dayboro’ branch before although Railway records at the State Archives show that it had been used to Dayboro’ on mixed, passenger and goods trains eight times since .4th April. the last time prior to the accident on a passenger train, two days before the crash. Prior o being transferred to Mayne, the water gin had been in the Toowoomba district and at Woolloongabba. UW9014 was one of 25 U class wagons converted and fitted with a water tank.

The six carriages (739 – 744) were all suburban passenger cars, built in 1915. Evidence showed all these cars to be in good condition prior to the accident.

A visit was, made to Mayne Railway Yards by the Judge and Assessors on 28th May to view the locomotive and last 4 carriages. A locomotive and tender of the same class were inspected at the same time, also an inspection was made of the Westinghouse brake shop and a set of tender bogies. Three visits were made to the scene of the accident on 22nd and 28th May and 11th June. On the 22nd May, the Judge, Assessors, 4 witnesses (who had traveled on E91 on Labour Day), union officials and Counsel rode to the scene of the derailment by railmotor. They alighted and walked back along the track to the head of the range where they joined a special test train (train number 273 special) of the composition as E91, the test train consisting of C17 engine 720, water gin HW4405 and cars 904,906,909, 791, 911 and 914 (Driver T.G. Stumbles, Fireman B.Burton and Guard W. Fitzgerald) was run to make comparisons between a train driven at regulation speed and E91. The test train passed through Ferny Grove at 10.30am at 10 m.p.h. and climbed to the head of the range in 8 minutes. It then departed the head of the range arriving at Samford at 11.30am. The speed of this train was regulated in order to run from Ferny Grove to Sarnford in the time tabled for the accident train with speeds taken over each half mile section – the lowest being 12.7 m.p.h. over the top of the range and the highest being 28.6 m.p.h. on the straight down towards Samford Road level crossing (where Cash Aye. is today.)

The Court was at a disadvantage in not being able to examine evidence of the Driver and Fireman, both having lost their lives in the accident. Driver Hind had joined the service in 1915 as a cleaner at Cloncurry. He passed the fireman’s examination in 1916 and was classified as such in 1924, having completed 2,504 hours as an acting fireman. In 1926 he passed the driver’s examination and by 1941 had completed 2,296 hours as an acting driver. On 18th February, 1943, he was classified as a fourth class driver stationed at Townsville. He was appointed a third class driver on 30th March, 1943 and a second class driver on 13th March, 1945. On 30th March, 1947 he was made a first class driver stationed at Mayne. Driver Hind had been found guilty of neglect of duty on only three occasions, during his 32 year career, these being for minor mishaps in 1923, 1932 and 1940. The Court was satisfied that Driver Hind was a very qualified and competent driver and would have been a competent judge of speed. He had not driven over the Samford Range before and was being taught the road by Fireman Knight.

Fireman Knight had joined the Railway service in 1923 and became a cleaner in 1924, serving at Roma Street and Dayboro’. He was appointed as a fireman from 1st January, 1926, passing the fireman’s examination on 30th April that year. He had served as a Fireman at Roma- Street, Mayne, Gympie, Hughenden and again at Mayne continuously from July, 1935, until the day of the accident. He had passed the driver’s examination on 3rd January, 1941 and had completed 2,148 driving hours since that date, some of this experience on the Little Liverpool and Toowoomba ranges between Grandchester and Toowoomba. He had traveled over the Sarnford Range on 5 occasions during the previous 2 years and no doubt would have fired over the range many times during his career. The Court was satisfied that Fireman Knight was a competent fireman and acting driver and that he had proper knowledge of the track so as to fit him for the position of tutor to Driver Hind.

Guard Evans joined the service in 1924 and had been employed as a lad porter, fettler and porter in the north. He became a shunter at Bowen on 21st September, 1939 and continued in that capacity at Brunswick Street and Oakey until May, 1946 completing 2,296 hours as an acting guard. He passed the guard’s examination in 1943 and was classified as such on 30th May, 1946, serving thereafter at Richmond and Mayne. He was familiar with the road to Dayboro’ and the Court was satisfied that he was a competent guard.

4 Camp Mountain residents and several passengers from E91 were called as witnesses at the Enquiry. All testified to the excessive speed of the picnic train as it traveled down the grade on 5th May. There were reports [hat hand luggage was thrown from the racks on the curves before the accident. The Guard gave evidence that the train traveled at regulation speed and at no time did the driver blow his whistle to signal he was having trouble braking the train. From where the train had reached the top of the rise at 10 miles 37 chains (mile post mileage) to the point of derailment at 11 miles 37 chains, the track had dropped 82½ feet in 71½ chains. The Court subsequently accepted the speed of the train at time of derailment to be between 35 and 40 m.p.h.

The theory of the accident was put forward by several expert witnesses. Their belief was that the train reached the overturn speed of the tender shortly after entering the 6 chain curve causing the left hand side of the tender to rise, lifting the left hand wheels clear of the rail. The application of the brake probably became effective about this time (the driver had made an emergency application – the brake handle and gear being found in this position following the accident). This in turn caused the rear bogie of the tender to rotate clockwise, the rear right hand wheel of the trailing bogie then moved across the right hand rail towards the inside of the curve (a score mark 4 feet 3 inches long was left in the rail.) and dropped on a sleeper, shattering it. Prior to this point, coal had been dislodged from the tender landing in the right hand cess. The tender continued to tilt and revolved around the outer rail, the top of the tender leaving scrape marks in the batter of the cutting. The right hand rear axle box shattered several sleepers. The overturning speed of the locomotive had not been reached at this stage, but the torque of the tender on the engine draw bar caused the locomotive to overturn. The tender’s left hand buffer hit the front right hand face of the tank of the water gin, this impact lifting the water tank from its underframe. The leading carriage (740) struck the water tank, the tank destroying the superstructure of this carriage. The underframe of the water gin continued forward with its bogies and struck the bogies of the tender leaving a tangled mess of these parts several feet in front of the engine. The second carriage (739) struck the first carriage and telescoped into it, carriage 739 being thrown up at an angle on the right hand bank.

Expert witnesses calculated the overturn speed of a tender in perfect mechanical condition on perfect track on the crash curve to be 51 miles per hour. Other factors, however, reduced this figure. Sway and oscillation of the steam locomotive at speed combined with imperfections in the running top of the permanent way would reduce the speed of overturn. Of major importance was the condition of the tender front bogie castings combined with the addition of packing plates between the male and female castings. The Court accepted the overturn speed of the tender to be between 35 and 40 miles per hour, the primary cause of the derailment being the excessive speed at which the train was traveling. Chief responsibility for the excessive speed was placed on the driver with a share of blame placed on both the fireman and the guard. he 1948 and 1949 Railway Commissioner’s Reports state that the cost of compensation for deaths and injuries in the crash to be £23,554. {mospagebreak title=Subsequent History}


Locomotive 824 was repaired and continued in service in the South East corner of the State and was eventually transferred to Toowoomba in 1958. It was withdrawn from traffic in May, 1967 and towed west towards Roma and then north along the then recently closed Injune Branch to be donated to the Bungil Shire Council. Today it sits in a park behind the Ambulance station with incorrect builders plates and numbers (from another C17 class locomotive – the original builders plates and numbers were purchased by a rail enthusiast when the engine was withdrawn from service). It is interesting to note that engine 720 (used on the test train) is currently being restored by the Australian Railway Historical Society at their Rosewood museum.

The suburban carriages were all repaired (except car 740 – written off) and continued in suburban service in Brisbane until the suburban system was electrified in the 1980s. The majority of these carriages were burnt; car 739 was saved and was held initially by the Queensland Pioneer Steam Railway at Swanbank, it now being in the hands of a railway preservation group in Warwick. Carriage 909 (the third carriage of the test train) is now part of Queensland Rail’s heritage collection.

The site of the accident has changed dramatically, the cutting widened to take a bitumen sealed road, the original railway fences replaced (although at the lime of writing, one original gate remains on the occupation crossing at the accident site) as land has been developed and now only a few coal fragments and pieces of glass remain on the outer bank of the curve. For economic reasons, the line was closed between Ferny Grove and Dayboro’ from 1st July, 1955 and the rails lifted (starting from the Dayboro’ end) with the final demolition train returning through Ferny Grove in 1957.

On the human side, with 50 years now elapsed, survivors are few and memories faded. The disaster was a tragedy for Brisbane, some families lost several members and the victims included children. Memorial services were held at both St. Stephens Cathedral and St. Johns Cathedral at 10am on Thursday, 8th May. Funerals for those lost were held on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 5th May, 1947. Seven of the victims rest today in well cared for graves in five of Brisbane’s cemeteries.

The Camp Mountain disaster still remains the worst railway crash in Queensland history. Article compiled by

© Peter Burden
© Graham Bailey


Official Report to Parliament, Camp Mountain Disaster, 1947.
Queensland Railways Working Timetables
Queensland Railways Commissioner’s Reports 1948, 1949.
Queensland State Archives Hard Batch Files.